Google seems to be the latest technology company to have committed a gender gaffe. At least, some tech journalists seem to believe so. At a recent TEDTalk conference where he promoted Google's latest product reveal, Google Glass, Google co-founder Sergey Brin described smartphone usage as antisocial and "emasculating." Granted, emasculating has two definitions, according to Merriam-Webster's dictionary: to deprive of strength, vigor, or spirit; and, to deprive of virility or procreative power (in other words, to castrate.) While Brin's talk did not center on gender discrepancies in smartphone and mobile usage, but instead touched on Glass' ability to counter antisocial behavior, his choice of vocabulary is a volatile one and likely used for sensational purposes. Also, given that lack of female diversity in the tech industry has been a hot button issue, using "emasculating"to define technology in a negative way brings that entire debate to mind.
In the TechCrunch article "Google Glass' Women Problem," writer Taylor Buyley wrote, "With one word Brin appears to have shot in the direction of both feet: both possibly alienating Google’s male Android smartphone customers and offputting women who might otherwise be in the market for Google Glass." Going off of this speculation of whether or not women made up a large part of the market interested in purchasing these glasses, TechCrunch staff members took it upon themselves to conduct an extensive, yet admittedly inaccurate and hypothetical study on the gender of those individuals who had particpated in the #ifihadglass Twitter and Google Plus social media campaigns to become Google Glass "Explorers" and test out the glasses before the public. However, judging from the comment section, not many readers felt this article based on Brin's use of "emasculating" was even necessary, nevermind offensive. "As a female and someone who didn't apply for the Glass Explorers program, I find that your article will have no adverse affects of me consuming the Glass. I think this is a bit over hyped. Most women don't even read TC," wrote user Rachael in the article's comment section. Another user, JanetJanet, wrote, "As a female and someone who applied for the Glass Explorers program, I find your article boring and long-winded. *yawn*"